08 Mar Lead Exposure During Pregnancy Associated with Reduced Kidney Function in Overweight Adulthood
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alison P. Sanders, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health
Department of Pediatrics
Director, Interdisciplinary Environmental Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: My research group is dedicated to understanding environmental and early life risk factors that contribute to kidney function decline. While some of the pathobiology leading to chronic kidney disease remains unclear, we understand that the process is complex and, like many chronic diseases, begins long before clinical diagnosis. My research investigates how the environment and mixtures of environmental chemicals/toxicants interact with traditional risk factors such as obesity, preterm birth, and nutritional status to hasten or prevent chronic kidney disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: This study takes place in Mexico City, where elevated blood lead levels (~20% in this cohort) remain a critical public health concern. We observed no direct relationships between prenatal lead exposure and preadolescent kidney function. However, we observed potential evidence of an interaction for children with higher prenatal lead exposure and with overweight at preadolescence.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Similar to studies of lead and subtle cognitive deficits, it may be that small shifts in early life kidney function and maturation processes contribute to altered trajectories later in life. It is important that we identify early life risk factors to prevent later life health outcomes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We must continue to biomonitor pregnant women and children for toxic exposures, and reduce exposure when levels are elevated. However, while blood lead levels are monitored at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline value of 5 ug/dL, there is no safe level of lead. More studies are needed to identify early life environmental risk factors, as well as the timing of when exposure prevention may be most critical in combination with traditional well-established risk factors.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: There is much yet to learn about early life environmental exposures and kidney development and the potential for long term health effects.
Saylor C, et al. Environ Int. 2021;doi:10.1016/j.envint.2021.106414.
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